Culvertons Antiques

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Rainy Days

14/04/2011 9:00 AM

Long before the advent of the games console or the personal computer the contents of this Walnut box kept families amused during many a wet weekend in 1920’s England.

Many of you may be familiar with the Dunhill name but possibly not the history behind this famous brand and the vast range of luxury items that Alfred Dunhill produced at the beginning of the Twentieth century, such as this beautifully crafted and comprehensive games compendium which came to light during a recent valuation for probate.

Alfred Dunhill inherited his fathers saddlery business in 1893 aged 21, he quickly transformed it into ‘Dunhill’s  Motorities’ and as the company slogan suggested they could provide the automobile enthusiast with ‘Everything but the motor’ such as car horns, lamps, picnic sets, leather overcoats and in 1903 his first dashboard clock, forerunner to a popular range of quality timepieces.

The years prior to the 1st World War saw Alfred Dunhill open a pipe, cigar and tobacco store in Dukes Street in the heart of the city, taking advantage of its proximity to London’s  lavish gentlemen ‘s clubs soon the  store was frequented by the rich and famous and business was brisk !.The profits from this early enterprise enabled Alfred to open a factory manufacturing the pipes with their white spot trade mark that became synonymous with the Dunhill name.

There was much to rejoice in the ensuing years, the successful opening of a new store in New York and the launching of several new products and lines such as the ‘Unique Lighter’, the distribution of the Namiki pen and the iconic ‘Facet’ time piece  but like many living and working in the city during the air raids of World War II Dunhill was not to escape unblemished  with their store being hit with a bomb in 1941.

The 1950’s and 60’s saw the store being rebuilt and the appearance on the market of Dunhill cigarettes capturing an uninformed eager audience and creating revenue helping Dunhill’s to sponsor major sporting events in the coming decades.

Nearly a hundred years on and Dunhills have produced a Shagreen games box drawing inspiration from its past but this time you will need a cool $ 50 000 to play chequers on a rainy day !! .

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